After accepting the award for Citizen of the Year at the annual Alamo Music and Wine Festival, Vicki Koc is back to work on her next project to benefit the area she loves.
"It feels very nice to be awarded for all the work," she said, adding that the honor was a complete surprise. Her efforts were also recognized by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, who presented her an award as well.
Don Morton, a member of Alamo Rotary, which puts on the festival and award, said they received a number of nominations this year. The committee, which Morton chairs, reads through them and votes privately to come up with a winner.
"There were three or four (nominations) that were really close, but Vicki was the obvious winner," he said.
"We have a lot of people who contribute a lot of time and energy and sometimes money to the community," Morton added. "It's always a difficult decision, but Vicki was obviously deserving."
When asked what inspires Koc to dedicate so much of her time and efforts to the community, she said it has become second nature. Even back to her high school years and a time when she lived in Europe, she always remembers being involved in service organizations.
"It has been a part of what I enjoy doing," Koc said. "Helping create community is a great thing. You meet lots of nice people and other volunteers who put in just as much time; it's rewarding."
Most rewarding is seeing projects still around, like her most memorable one being the Miranda Avenue bike project. There's also the Primo's run that still raises money for the schools. Koc was also part of the efforts to keep Alamo Elementary School open and to bring the idea of incorporation before the voters.
"I think a smaller community sponsors a lot more ties," she said of Alamo. "Over time you get to know not only your neighbors and kids' teachers and peers at school, but you interweave that with businesses and services in town."
In a tighter community, people want to give to it, she added, as opposed to being lost in a big metropolis.
Morton agreed that living in an unincorporated community means that there are a lot of people working hard behind the scenes in various organizations.
"We now have the MAC group, the improvement association, Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations here and there that get involved in helping make Alamo what it is," he said. "Without having a city or town government, it is people like Vicki who really make a difference."
So what's next for the 2010 Citizen of the Year? She's continuing to work on getting seasonal tree lighting in downtown streets.